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YLS to Hold Conference on Race, Values and the Law, Feb. 22-24

New Haven, Conn. -- "Race, Values and the American Legal Process," a scholarly conference honoring the legacy of Law School alumnus Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., will be held at Yale Law School on February 22-24.

The conference will reflect on the legacy of Judge Higginbotham and offer a vision for civil rights activism in the American legal process today.

"No American of his generation contributed more than Leon Higginbotham to our understanding of race, and to the ongoing effort to cure the terrible injustices of slavery and racism in America," says Law School Dean Anthony Kronman. "As a lawyer, judge and scholar, Leon Higginbotham advanced the cause of racial justice with all the resources of his mind and heart. The conference will celebrate Higginbotham's inspiring legacy, and explore concrete ideas for political, social and legal reform."

Conference registration begins at 3:30 p.m. on February 22, followed by a panel discussion on "Race, Values and the Criminal Justice System" at 4:30 p.m. Participants will be political activist and author Angela Davis, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Tracey Meares, professor of law at the University of Chicago. Yale Law Professor Dan Kahan will moderate the session. The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, congresswoman representing Washington, D.C., will give the opening address at 6:30 p.m. in the Levinson Auditorium at the Law School, 127 Wall Street.

Saturday's program includes panel discussions from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., followed by working group sessions at 4:15 p.m. Panel topics are "Race, Values, Gender and Sexuality"; "Race, Values and the Judiciary"; and "Race, Values and Democracy." The conference keynote address will be given on Saturday evening by Newark, New Jersey, city councilman and mayoral candidate Cory Booker, an alumnus of Yale Law School.

A Sunday morning panel on "Race, Values and the Academy" will be followed by a worship service in Battell Chapel highlighting "Race, Values and Faith," with remarks by the Reverend Walter Fauntroy, former congressman from D.C. The Yale Gospel Choir and the Black Church at Yale will also participate.

Higginbotham, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, had an extraordinary career as a lawyer, teacher, judge and author. After his graduation from Yale Law School in 1952, he was appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by President Kennedy-the first African American to be appointed to a federal commission. President Johnson appointed him a federal district court judge in 1964, and President Carter appointed him to the Court of Appeals in 1977. He served as chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1989 to 1991, and as senior judge until his retirement in 1993. At the time of his death in 1998, he was Public Service Professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard University and "of counsel" to the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He also wrote the award-winning book, "In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process," and was the recipient of more than 60 honorary degrees, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal and the Award of Merit from the Yale Law School Association for his many years of service to that organization.

For up-to-date information on conference schedules and participants or to register, visit the conference website at; write BLSA, Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208215, New Haven, CT 06520-8215; telephone 203-432-4875; or email Further information will be forthcoming on this website as well. Registration for students is $30 (including the Saturday lunch) or $70 (including lunch and dinner); general registration is $150, which includes all meals. A public interest subsidy for registration may be available.

The A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. conference is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association of Yale Law School and the Yale Law School Office of the Dean.